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JPS Old Testament
Genesis 19:24

Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

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- Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Brimstone;   Death;   Gomorrah;   Holy Spirit;   Judgments;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Sodom;   Sodomites;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Brimstone;   Fire;   Lot;   Meteorology;   Storms;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Anger of God, the;   Heaven;   Judgments;   Sun, the;  


- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Admah;   Brimstone;   Jordan;   Lot;   Miracle;   Sodom;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Earthquake;   Palestine;   Sodom;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptism of Fire;   Family Life and Relations;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Hell;   Immorality, Sexual;   Lake of Fire;   Punishment;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - All-Sufficiency of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Brimstone;   Gomorrah;   Judgments of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Admah;   Brimstone;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Brimstone;   Cities of the Plain;   Heaven;   Lot;   Remnant;   Sodom and Gomorrah;   Zoar;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Admah;   Ammon, Ammonites;   Ben-Ammi;   Brimstone;   Greek Versions of Ot;   Israel;   Lightning;   Moab, Moabites;   Plain, Cities of the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Brimstone;   Brimstone ;   Fire;   Sodom;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Brimstone;   Sodom, Sodoma ;   Zoar ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gomorrha;   Lot;   Sodom;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Gomorrah;   Lot;   Salt (2);   Sodom;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Brimstone;   Gomor'rah;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Heaven;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Brimstone;   Gomorrah;   Zeboim;  


- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abraham;   Fire;   Gomorrah;   Israel, Religion of;   Lake of Fire;   Omnipresence;   Poetry, Hebrew;   Sodom;   Zoar;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Admah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Aristai;   Brimstone;   Eschatology;   Heaven;   Midrashim, Smaller;   Miracle;  


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Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
the Lord
Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 1:9; 13:19; Jeremiah 20:16; 49:18; 50:40; Lamentations 4:6; Ezekiel 16:49,50; Hosea 11:8; Amos 4:11; Zephaniah 2:9; Matthew 11:23,24; Luke 17:28,29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7
The word rendered "brimstone," (q.d. brennestone, or brinnestone, id est burning-stone,) is always rendered by the LXX. "sulphur," and seems to denote a meteorous inflammable matter.


Genesis 19:23

Genesis 19:24

Genesis 19:28

Genesis 19:29

Job 18:15

Psalms 11:6

Isaiah 1:9

Isaiah 13:19

Jeremiah 20:16

Jeremiah 49:18

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom, and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And not upon those two cities only, but upon Admah and Zeboiim also, see Deuteronomy 29:23; this was not a common storm of thunder and lightning, with which often there is a smell of sulphur or brimstone; but this was a continued shower of sulphurous fire, or of burning flaming brimstone, which at once consumed those cities and the inhabitants of them; and the land adjacent being bituminous, or however some parts of it, full of slimepits, or pits of bitumen, a liquid of a pitchy quality, Genesis 14:10; this flaming sulphur falling thereon, must burn in a most fierce and furious manner; and which utterly consumed not only houses, goods, and everything upon the land, but the land itself, and turned it into a bituminous lake, called to this day, from thence, the Lake Asphaltites, the Greek word for bitumen being "asphaltos". Of this conflagration some Heathen writers speak, as particularly Tacitus who says, some large and famous cities, or, as some copies have it, Jewish ones, not far from Jordan, were struck with thunderbolts, and were fired "igni ceolesti", with fire from heaven, and were consumed; and so Solinus relates, that,"at some distance from Jerusalem, a sorrowful lake appears, which the black ground testifies was stricken by heaven and turned into ashes; where were two towns, the one called Sodomum, the other Gomorrum.'This was a righteous judgment on those cities, and a just retaliation for their sin; their sin was an unnatural one, and nature is inverted to punish them, fire comes down from heaven, or hell from heaven, as Salvian's words are, to consume them; they burned with lusts one against another, and flaming sheets of sulphurous fire fall upon them, burn and destroy them; and, in allusion to this terrible conflagration, hell is called the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Judges 1:7 Revelation 20:14; and this destruction was brought upon them by Jehovah the Son of God, who had appeared to Abraham in an human form, and gave him notice of it, and heard all he had to plead for those cities, and then departed from him to Sodom, and was the author of this sad catastrophe; this amazing shower of fire and brimstone was rained by him from Jehovah his Father, out of heaven; so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem both call him, the Word of the Lord.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

- The Destruction of Sodom and Amorah

9. גשׁ־<הלאה gesh -hāl'âh “approach to a distant point,” stand back.

11. סנורים sanevērı̂ym “blindness,” affecting the mental more than the ocular vision.

37. מואב mô'āb Moab; מאב mē'āb “from a father.” בן־עמי ben -‛amı̂y Ben-‹ammi, “son of my people.” עמון ‛amôn ‹Ammon, “of the people.”

This chapter is the continuation and conclusion of the former. It records a part of God‘s strange work - strange, because it consists in punishment, and because it is foreign to the covenant of grace. Yet it is closely connected with Abraham‘s history, inasmuch as it is a signal chastisement of wickedness in his neighborhood, a memorial of the righteous judgment of God to all his posterity, and at the same time a remarkable answer to the spirit, if not to the letter, of his intercessory prayer. His kinsman Lot, the only righteous man in Sodom, with his wife and two daughters, is delivered from destruction in accordance with his earnest appeal on behalf of the righteous.

Genesis 19:1-3

The two angels. - These are the two men who left Abraham standing before the Lord Genesis 18:22. “Lot sat in the gate,” the place of public resort for news and for business. He courteously rises to meet them, does obeisance to them, and invites them to spend the night in his house. “Nay, but in the street will we lodge.” This is the disposition of those who come to inquire, and, it may be, to condemn and to punish. They are twice in this chapter called angels, being sent to perform a delegated duty. This term, however, defines their office, not their nature. Lot, in the first instance, calls them “my lords,” which is a term of respect that may be addressed to men Genesis 31:35. He afterward styled one of them Adonai, with the special vowel pointing which limits it to the Supreme Being. He at the same time calls himself his servant, appeals to his grace and mercy, and ascribes to him his deliverance. The person thus addressed replies, in a tone of independence and authority, “I have accepted thee.” “I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken.” “I cannot do anything until thou go thither.” All these circumstances point to a divine personage, and are not so easily explained of a mere delegate. He is pre-eminently the Saviour, as he who communed with Abraham was the hearer of prayer. And he who hears prayer and saves life, appears also as the executor of his purpose in the overthrow of Sodom and the other cities of the vale. It is remarkable that only two of the three who appeared to Abraham are called angels. Of the persons in the divine essence two might be the angels or deputies of the primary in the discharge of the divine purpose. These three men, then, either immediately represent, or, if created angels, mediately shadow forth persons in the Godhead. Their number indicates that the persons in the divine unity are three.

Lot seems to have recognized something extraordinary in their appearance, for he made a lowly obeisance to them. The Sodomites heed not the strangers. Lot‘s invitation; at first declined, is at length accepted, because Lot is approved of God as righteous, and excepted from the doom of the city.

Genesis 19:4-11

The wicked violence of the citizens displays itself. They compass the house, and demand the men for the vilest ends. How familiar Lot had become with vice, when any necessity whatever could induce him to offer his daughters to the lust of these Sodomites! We may suppose it was spoken rashly, in the heat of the moment, and with the expectation that he would not be taken at his word. So it turned out. “Stand back.” This seems to be a menace to frighten Lot out of the way of their perverse will. It is probable, indeed, that he and his family would not have been so long safe in this wicked place, had he not been the occasion of a great deliverance to the whole city when they were carried away by the four kings. The threat is followed by a taunt, when the sorely vexed host hesitated to give up the strangers. “He will needs be a judge.” It is evident Lot had been in the habit of remonstrating with them. From threats and taunts they soon proceed to violence. His guests now interfere. They rescue Lot, and smite the rioters with blindness, or a wandering of the senses, so that they cannot find the door. This ebullition of the vilest passion seals the doom of the city.

Genesis 19:12-23

The visitors now take steps for the deliverance of Lot and his kindred before the destruction of the cities. All that are related to him are included in the offer of deliverance. There is a blessing in being connected with the righteous, if men will but avail themselves of it. Lot seems bewildered by the contemptuous refusal of his connections to leave the place. His early choice and his growing habits have attached him to the place, notwithstanding its temptations. His married daughters, or at least the intended husbands of the two who were at home (“who are here”), are to be left behind. But though these thoughts make him linger, the mercy of the Lord prevails. The angels use a little violence to hasten their escape. The mountain was preserved by its elevation from the flood of rain, sulphur, and fire which descended on the low ground on which the cities were built. Lot begs for a small town to which he may retreat, as he shrinks from the perils of a mountain dwelling, and his request is mercifully granted.

Genesis 19:24-26

Then follows the overthrow of the cities. “The Lord rained brimstone and fire from the Lord from the skies.” Here the Lord is represented as present in the skies, whence the storm of desolation comes, and on the earth where it falls. The dale of Siddim, in which the cities were, appears to have abounded in asphalt and other combustible materials Genesis 14:10. The district was liable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from the earliest to the latest times. We read of an earthquake in the days of king Uzziah Amos 1:1. An earthquake in 1759 destroyed many thousands of persons in the valley of Baalbec. Josephus (De Bell. Jud. iii. 10,7) reports that the Salt Sea sends up in many places black masses of asphalt, which are not unlike headless bulls in shape and size. After an earthquake in 1834, masses of asphalt were thrown up from the bottom, and in 1837 a similar cause was attended with similar effects.

The lake lies in the lowest part of the valley of the Jordan, and its surface is about thirteen hundred feet below the level of the sea. In such a hollow, exposed to the burning rays of an unclouded sun, its waters evaporate as much as it receives by the influx of the Jordan. Its present area is about forty-five miles by eight miles. A peninsula pushes into it from the east called the Lisan, or tongue, the north point of which is about twenty miles from the south end of the lake. North of this point the depth is from forty to two hundred and eighteen fathoms. This southern part of the lake seems to have been the original dale of Siddim, in which were the cities of the vale. The remarkable salt hills lying on the south of the lake are still called Khashm Usdum (Sodom). A tremendous storm, accompanied with flashes of lightning, and torrents of rain, impregnated with sulphur, descended upon the doomed cities.

From the injunction to Lot to “flee to the mountain,” as well as from the nature of the soil, we may infer that at the same time with the awful conflagration there was a subsidence of the ground, so that the waters of the upper and original lake flowed in upon the former fertile and populous dale, and formed the shallow southern part of the present Salt Sea. In this pool of melting asphalt and sweltering, seething waters, the cities seem to have sunk forever, and left behind them no vestiges of their existence. Lot‘s wife lingering behind her husband, and looking back, contrary to the express command of the Lord, is caught in the sweeping tempest, and becomes a pillar of salt: so narrow was the escape of Lot. The dashing spray of the salt sulphurous rain seems to have suffocated her, and then encrusted her whole body. She may have burned to a cinder in the furious conflagration. She is a memorable example of the indignation and wrath that overtakes the halting and the backsliding.

Genesis 19:27-29

Abraham rises early on the following morning, to see what had become of the city for which he had interceded so earnestly, and views from afar the scene of smoking desolation. Remembering Abraham, who was Lot‘s uncle, and had him probably in mind in his importunate pleading, God delivered Lot from this awful overthrow. The Eternal is here designated by the name Elohim, the Everlasting, because in the war of elements in which the cities were overwhelmed, the eternal potencies of his nature were signally displayed.

Genesis 19:30-38

The descendants of Lot. Bewildered by the narrowness of his escape, and the awful death of his wife, Lot seems to have left Zoar, and taken to the mountain west of the Salt Sea, in terror of impending ruin. It is not improbable that all the inhabitants of Zoar, panic-struck, may have fled from the region of danger, and dispersed themselves for a time through the adjacent mountains. He was now far from the habitations of people, with his two daughters as his only companions. The manners of Sodom here obtrude themselves upon our view. Lot‘s daughters might seem to have been led to this unnatural project, first, because they thought the human race extinct with the exception of themselves, in which case their conduct may have seemed a work of justifiable necessity; and next, because the degrees of kindred within which it was unlawful to marry had not been determined by an express law. But they must have seen some of the inhabitants of Zoar after the destruction of the cities; and carnal intercourse between parent and offspring must have been always repugnant to nature. “Unto this day.” This phrase indicates a variable period, from a few years to a few centuries: a few years; not more than seven, as Joshua 22:3; part of a lifetime, as Numbers 22:30; Joshua 6:25; Genesis 48:15; and some centuries, as Exodus 10:6. This passage may therefore have been written by one much earlier than Moses. Moab afterward occupied the district south of the Arnon, and east of the Salt Sea. Ammon dwelt to the northeast of Moab, where they had a capital called Rabbah. They both ultimately merged into the more general class of the Arabs, as a second Palgite element.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

The Lord rained - brimstone and fire from the Lord - As all judgment is committed to the Son of God, many of the primitive fathers and several modern divines have supposed that the words ויהוה vaihovah and יהוה מאת meeth Yehovah imply, Jehovah the Son raining brimstone and fire from Jehovah the Father; and that this place affords no mean proof of the proper Divinity of our blessed Redeemer. It may be so; but though the point is sufficiently established elsewhere, it does not appear to me to be plainly indicated here. And it is always better on a subject of this kind not to have recourse to proofs which require proofs to confirm them. It must however be granted that two persons mentioned as Jehovah in one verse, is both a strange and curious circumstance; and it will appear more remarkable when we consider that the person called Jehovah, who conversed with Abraham, (see Genesis 18)., and sent those two angels to bring Lot and his family out of this devoted place, and seems himself after he left off talking with Abraham to have ascended to heaven, Genesis 19:33, does not any more appear on this occasion till we hear that Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven. This certainly gives much countenance to the opinion referred to above, though still it may fall short of positive proof.

Brimstone and fire - The word גפרית gophrith, which we translate brimstone, is of very uncertain derivation. It is evidently used metaphorically, to point out the utmost degrees of punishment executed on the most flagitious criminals, in Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22. And as hell, or an everlasting separation from God and the glory of his power, is the utmost punishment that can be inflicted on sinners, hence brimstone and fire are used in Scripture to signify the torments in that place of punishment. See Isaiah 30:33; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8. We may safely suppose that it was quite possible that a shower of nitrous particles might have been precipitated from the atmosphere, here, as in many other places, called heaven, which, by the action of fire or the electric fluid, would be immediately ignited, and so consume the cities; and, as we have already seen that the plains about Sodom and Gomorrah abounded with asphaltus or bitumen pits, (see Genesis 14:10;), that what is particularly meant here in reference to the plain is the setting fire to this vast store of inflammable matter by the agency of lightning or the electric fluid; and this, in the most natural and literal manner, accounts for the whole plain being burnt up, as that plain abounded with this bituminous substance; and thus we find three agents employed in the total ruin of these cities, and all the circumjacent plain:

  1. Innumerable nitrous particles precipitated from the atmosphere.
  • The vast quantity of asphaltus or bitumen which abounded in that country: and,
  • 3. Lightning or the electric spark, which ignited the nitre and bitumen, and thus consumed both the cities and the plain or champaign country in which they were situated.

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    JPS Old Testament
    The Bible text designated "JPS Old Testament (1917)" is from the Jewish Publication Society"s English transation of the Hebrew Old Testament published in 1917. The electronic text is copyright 2000 by Larry Nelson, Box 2083, Rialto, CA 92376. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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